My Struggle With Anxiety

Mental health was never a topic of conversation. I didn’t understand it and couldn’t relate to it. High school did not prepare me for what I would encounter. 

My roommate in first year college experienced anxiety, and I didn’t get it. She would get upset and tell me she couldn’t write her paper or go to the gym. I was so confused. I didn’t get it until I started to feel it. 

I didn’t realize that everything that was happening, happened on the inside. 

I experienced anxiety for the first time in January. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s hard to explain, but I’m going to try. 

All of a sudden, at random times, I would start to feel my stomach drop. And this could happen literally anywhere; in the middle of a workout, shopping, even in the middle of class. This feeling in my stomach was accompanied by my throat becoming choked up… as if I was about to cry. This feeling scared the sh!t out of me. The first time I experienced these feelings I ran out of the gym in the middle of a workout. I wasn’t sure if my feelings were reflected on my face and I did not want anyone to see what was happening. This feeling came like a tidal wave and shut me down for hours at a time. Or sometimes it would build up but then vanish in seconds. 

I kept this feeling to myself for a few weeks, but after canceling plans and constantly wanting to be by myself in case it happened again, I needed to tell someone. 

I had many opinions given to me, “It’s cause you’re getting your period” or “You’re not telling me what’s really bothering you”. 

But none of these suggestions sufficed. they didn’t add up to what I was feeling. 

I think the worst part about these feelings was that I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from or why they were happening. This bothered me the most. I was scared because I couldn’t find a solution. 

I was the first one to make plans, and now I was the one canceling them. 

I could hardly get through a full training session without wanting to leave.

Some days I just couldn’t go to class.

But this was not me. 

What was going on?

Why was I crying for no reason? 

I had so many unanswered questions.

This was anxiety. 

As soon as I sought out help, these episodes stopped. Talking to a professional was the best thing I ever did and and I’m so happy I made this decision. The counsellor I spoke to knew exactly how to help me. 

Although it can sometimes feel embarrassing or shameful, getting help is so important. 

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from this experience was to try and refrain from judging people. I needed to walk in my roommates shoes before I understood and realized what she was going through. I now understand how complicated and random anxiety is and I feel for the people who deal with it on a regular basis. 

I wanted to write this short blog post to help people that are experiencing similar feelings. For those who can relate, know that you are not alone. Talking to someone was the best thing I ever did and I encourage you to do the same.